The Names Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who is shot in Chapter 13?

2. What reason does James offer in Chapter 10 for Greece's continued buffeting by stronger powers historically?

3. What news does Ann Maitland give James when she has dinner with James in the beginning of Chapter 13?

4. In Chapter 13, what reason does James think Eliades have for seducing Ann?

5. What almost happens to Volterra in the humorous personal story he tells in Chapter 9?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

The Names takes place in a place and time in which new and unknown dangers are emerging for expat Americans. The novel finds clever and unnerving ways to illustrate these dangers. Write an essay in three parts dealing with the way DeLillo illustrates danger and fear in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the new international reality that is emerging for Americans in the early 1980's. What is the state of the Cold War at this time? What events have illustrated the new danger posed by religious extremism? To what extent is James Axton's profession the quintessential creation of American expat culture in this time?

Part 2) James Axton is clearly a character what sits at the tip of the spear for international danger. What dangers exist for him throughout the novel? Discuss ambiguous characters, messages, and events that strike him as dangerous? What violent moment serves as the culmination of this nascent danger, and who does James think is responsible for it?

Part 3) Discuss the subterranean actions that place James Axton's life in danger throughout the novel. How has James been an unwitting pawn of the intelligence community? What was hunting him throughout the novel? How does he discover the true nature of his work?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay about the Language Cult and how it becomes a symbol in the novel. To what extent does the language cult exist outside of time and place? In what ways is it stateless and oddly innocent? In discussing the otherworldliness of the cult, determine what it represents to the people who search it out. What do these lost Americans long to find at the end of the search for the cult? To what extent does the cult represent a pre-American world?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the relationship between James and Tap Axton. What do father and son do together throughout the novel, and how does the impending divorce affect this activity? What habits does Tap have that alienate him from James? Discuss whether DeLillo paints a picture of a father and son relationship that seems strong in any way. What other character seems more like a father figure to Tap?

(see the answer keys)

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